A rural county in North Carolina is in mourning. Instead of celebrating the birth of one of its babies, they are lamenting over the death of its mother. 22 year old Megan Liggan was not wearing her seat belt and died as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

The weather was not kind that night in Alamance County. There were thunderstorms and lightening to contend with.  Her husband, like most, had the responsibility of driving her to University of North Carolina’s hospital, where they were looking forward to the arrival of their first child. Megan worked as a server in her community’s steak house and everyone was excited. She worked the lunch and evening shift and was energetic and friendly. Her manager had no idea that he would be seeing her for the last time.

According to the Department of Transportation, every 13 minutes someone is killed in a car accident. Unfortunately, Megan was one of them. The car slid uncontrollably on the wet surface of the road and spun off the freeway and struck a tree. Megan wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. By the time the highway patrol arrived, she was unconscious. She was taken to the hospital and an emergency C-section was done. The baby lived. Megan died.

A few years ago, one of my pregnant patients received a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. She asked me if I could write a note on her behalf so that she could present it to the judge and avoid paying a fine. I respectfully told her “no” and that I would be breaking the law if I did that.

Every 15 seconds someone is injured during a motor vehicle accident. Each year 11,000 lives are saved from seat belts. Megan might have been one of them.

May Megan Riggan rest in peace and may her untimely death remind all pregnant women to please, wear your seat belts.